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1930s Broadcast Stations with Ham Call Signs

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by W0RIO, Oct 26, 2021.

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  1. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Notice the apparent ham call stickers have an "X" following the call area number. X was not assigned to any amateur station in the early days. Instead, it was reserved for experimental stations. For example, the famous W2XMN of Major Armstrong as referenced above. But high fidelity broadcasting was actually first accomplished by W2XQR (stickie available for this one as well) by Armstrong's Alpine FM transmitter, via link from NYC studios of WQXR. Here is an excerpt and link to the full story:

    "WQXR’s initial double-bandwidth channel allowed high-fidelity transmission but not freedom from interference. For the latter, Edwin Armstrong developed FM. But where could Armstrong get high-fidelity content? From WQXR, of course!

    A special, equalized, high-fidelity telephone line was run from WQXR’s studio (in Manhattan) to Armstrong’s station in Alpine, New Jersey, for the world’s first regularly scheduled FM broadcast on July 18, 1939.[iv] Armstrong returned the favor by lending WQXR an FM transmitter so it could begin transmitting as W2XQR on November 26 of the same year.[v]

    When FM became a commercially authorized service in 1941, the call sign changed to W59NY, and, when the rules changed again in 1943, it became WQXQ. Finally, in 1948, the FM version became WQXR."

    K0UO, K4KYV and AC0OB like this.
  2. SWL37632

    SWL37632 QRZ Member

    Seem to remember that pioneering TV station KTLA in Los Angeles had a ham like call....and/or a 'X' in the call . Don't remember it off hand but I've read a couple articles in decades past about it. In addition I seem to remember seeing some old 1940's / 1950's pictures of their TV cameras and microphones with the experimental call.
    K0UO likes this.
  3. AC0OB

    AC0OB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    In 1927, the FRC had decided not to expand the AM broadcast band from 1500-2000 kHz, but to hold these frequencies in reserve for experimental work in broadcasting. In 1932 it created three frequencies to be used by experimental wideband “high fidelity” AM stations — 1530, 1550 and 1570 kHz. Because of the wider spacing between these three channels compared to the standard broadcast (AM) band, stations on those frequencies were able to operate with an audio frequency response up to 10 kHz instead of the usual 5 kHz..."

    Apparently between at least 1924 and 1932. I haven't been able to find any earlier FRC documents that specified the audio bandwidth for AM transmission.

    Possibly one of these Bulletins has this info:

  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The X is what distinguished it from a ham callsign. Experimental license. A ham would not have been issued an X suffix.
  5. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Now, the X suffix is assigned to amateur callsigns, nothing special.

    There were other restricted suffixes. As I recall, suffixes beginning with Y were once reserved to university and college ham club stations. There was something special about a Z suffix as well.
  6. W2VW

    W2VW Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think Z or ZZ was mobile.
  8. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    N3RYB and K0UO like this.
  9. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

  10. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm in that category. I finally determined that no one ever held my call before me. In 5 land, FCC was just beginning to start the K 1x2 sequence a few years before I got my call sign, but they were nowhere near making it to U, in systematic issue. That's because in those days, very few hams made it to Extra. For years, the % of U.S. hams holding the Extra Class was no more than 5%. Now it's way higher.

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